Southeast Texas Record

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Provost Umphrey sues Equinor, Formerly Statoil, alleging oil company engaged in ‘sham’ sales transactions


By David Yates | Dec 19, 2019


HOUSTON – Provost Umphrey has filed a series of individual lawsuits in Harris County against Equinor, a Norwegian-based energy company (formerly Statoil) and its related oil and gas entities. 

The firm is representing over 200 mineral owners who have been underpaid oil and gas royalties by the international energy company, a press release states. 

“Equinor disregarded both express and implied provisions of its lease agreements and entered into ‘sham’ transactions with its own gas and oil sales and marketing companies in order to manipulate the price it had to pay on minerals produced since 2013,” says Provost Umphrey attorney and lead-counsel Bryan O. Blevins, Jr. 

“These transactions, combined with runaway cost deductions, have resulted in royalty owners being left holding the short stick from a company that they trusted would pay them what they were rightfully owed.”  

Equinor/Statoil entered the Texas oil and gas market in 2010 by acquiring leases and wells in the Eagle Ford Shale under a 50/50 joint venture agreement with Repsol (formerly known as Talisman). 

Ultimately, the joint venture included some 4,000 royalty owners, 2,800 oil and gas leases covering 59,000 net acres, and 494 producing wells. In October of this year, Equinor announced an agreement to sell its interest in the Eagle Ford Shale to Repsol so that it could concentrate on its offshore assets. 

Provost Umphrey believes Equinor/Statoil has engaged in practices that violate not only the express and implied terms of royalty owner leases but also provisions of the Texas Natural Resources Code. 

“Our clients have been systematically and purposely underpaid by Equinor/Statoil for their mineral rights, and our goal is to make sure that the appropriate parties are held accountable,” says Blevins.  

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